Thursday, August 18, 2011

The day I learned that it’s good to tell the truth about NOT making out with your 3rd grade classmates.

I’m pretty sure my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. White, had a personal vendetta against me. Or maybe I was just always in the wrong place at the wrong time, like that time I was recounting my most recent laser tag adventure with my friends and got chastised for making a gun shape with my fingers. Sure, it was only months after the Columbine shooting, but as a non-news following ten year-old, I had no idea that making a gun shape with one’s thumb and forefinger was now considered threatening. Well excuse me, Mrs. White.

Then there was that time that I was rolling my pencil from the top of my book to the bottom while not listening to the English lesson:

MRS. WHITE: So Brian, I see you’re playing drums again with your pencil.

ME: Clearly that’s not what you see.

MRS. WHITE: I see what I see, and you’re playing drums!

ME: How does rolling my pencil like this constitute playing drums? I’m not tapping it or anything.

MRS. WHITE: Just stop playing drums, Brian.

ME: What kinds of bands do you listen to? Do they play drums like I do? Can they only play on a slight incline? Does the guitarist play in the same fashion? I can’t imagine how that would work.

MRS. WHITE: Go sit in the corner.

ME: Bullocks.

Because of Mrs. White’s constant raking me across the coals, my tenth year was mostly spent with the sneaking suspicion that somehow I had, against my will, gone bad and was on some sort of inescapable moral decline.

Perhaps my succumbing to that very thought caused me to commit the following act, which haunts me to this day. This, of course, is the day I learned that it’s good to tell the truth about NOT making out with your 3rd grade classmates.

It was at recess in January and I was hanging out with my mixed-gender group of friends when one of them suggested, “Wanna play Spin The Bottle?”


Of course we didn’t want to play Spin The Bottle. I experienced my first semi-crush a year later, and any sort of desire to kiss a girl didn’t develop for a year after that. Spin The Bottle was something that I had always imagined happened somewhere around seventh grade.

(For the record, to this day, I have not once played Spin The Bottle. I think that game is just an allusion that television shows use to help preteens deal with questions about attraction and sexual growth. Maybe it was big in the sixties and seventies, maybe even the eighties, but not once have I heard of someone my age who actually played Spin The Bottle when they were younger. If anyone has, PLEASE take advantage of my comments section and tell me about it.)

After a clumsy silence, my friend quickly covered his steps.

FRIEND: Uh, of course I meant High Five Spin The Bottle. No kissing. Just high fives.

THE REST OF US: Sure, okay. That seems age-appropriate.

And so, we went up on the hill in our playground, circled up, and Tia—the Australian foreign exchange student—took off her Tweety Bird glove and placed it in the center. Then one of my more daring friends spun it and bashfully high-fived the girl it landed on. When it was my turn, I spun the glove and when I saw it landed on someone, I yelled “YEAH!” and high-fived her. This was met with gasps.

ME: What?

THEM: I think you’re taking this all too lightly.

ME: Really? It’s just a high-five.

THEM: It’s high-five SPIN THE BOTTLE. The stakes are much higher. If we were in seventh grade, we’d be kissing and some of us would be getting coupled-off to go have Closet Time. I saw it on The Adventures of Pete & Pete.

ME: I didn't know you watched that. 

THEM: We LOVE it! Two brothers, one name. What a hilarious situation! 

ME: Whatever. The deal is, we're not in seventh grade. We’re high-fiving like normal, non-sexually committed 3rd graders; it’s just that we’re leaving it up to the chance of a spun glove.

THEM: It’s so much more than that! This is practice for the world that inevitably awaits us. This game is the single most important stepping stone into our teenage years.

ME: I think you’re over-thinking it.


So I pretended to take it more seriously. We kept this game going for two recess periods, feeling more and more rebellious. There was even talk about one couple actually kissing but that never amounted to anything, because in second grade we had all watched a video about a kid who kissed a girl at school and got expelled and was screwed for the rest of his life, so we were all afraid of that happening.

Then someone told on us. One of the meanest, nastiest recess patrol officers walked up the hill toward us. She looked exactly like Meatloaf. The singer. 

You would have thought we were just told all of our dogs had died in a mysterious cement mixer accident. We were sentenced to a week's worth of recesses sitting by the outside wall of the school building, also known Azkaban, under the watchful eye of it's main dementor Ms. Meatloaf.

[I'm not saying that Evergreen Elementary hires cocaine users. However, if they hired Meatloaf, then that's exactly what I'm saying.]

It was a tough week. What’s such a mystery about the whole experience is that NONE OF US had the brains to tell anyone, “Oh hey, it actually was High-Five Spin The Bottle. There was no kissing. Just high-fives.” We took our punishment like little baby douche-raccoons, perhaps because we felt like playing this watered-down version of Spin The Bottle was too close to having Closet Time.

What's worse is that I didn’t tell my parents about this incident until parent-teacher conferences a month later, which means that I had nothing but diarrhea for thirty days. And still, I didn’t tell them that we only high-fived instead of kissed until one day, while retelling the story a decade later, I told them the truth. What a relief. 

*Honest to God, she looked EXACTLY like that.
**I distinctly remember her saying that. I also remember NOT thinking that she was born yesterday.
***Okay, there's a small chance that this Meatloaf picture is actually Neil Young.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Blogiversary II (And the story of my URL)

Four score and two years ago (minus the four score) a 21-year-old man started a blog.

His name was me.

I mean, that was me. I did that. I was the 21-year-old and I started a blog two years ago today. This one. Called Popcorn Day. It’s my second blogiversary today. Are you following now?

It seems like only yesterday I was home fresh from a trip to Europe during which I discovered I had a panic disorder (I’ve found that many of the most successful bloggers suffer from similar ailments) but also discovered I love blogging and couldn’t for the life of me stop, so I started Popcorn Day based on a dream I had once.

As I began to set up the blog, I entered to check its availability. After a suspenseful moment or two spent watching as the words “Checking Availability” added and subtracted periods from their ellipsis, like the colorful pinwheel that Apple uses to say "I'm thinking, dammit," I was saddened to see that the URL wasn’t available. “Who could possibly have a blog with that title?” I wondered angrily. So I typed in the URL that SHOULD BE MINE, pressed enter, and discovered one of the strangest and mysterious blogs I’ve ever seen.

The blog, entitled “Super Queen Gum 2 Your Rescue,” consists of 19 posts, each written either on November 28th, 2009, or February 6th, 2010.  Every post has one picture, accompanied by a colorful sentence all in caps lock, mostly relating to either this woman’s birthday or Christmas presents.

THIS is why I couldn’t have

I was pissed.

To this day, the woman who refers to herself as Super Queen Gum (yet her name on her profile page is PopCornDay) is an enigma. Is her name actually PopCornDay?  Or is it Super Queen Gum, which is just as implausible? Who IS Oldman and why does he go gaga to get Godiva Teddies for her? And where did he get all his money? 

I’ve commented on one of her posts to try to get some more information about her, but received no response. Here is my final plea:

Dear Super Queen Gum (2 my rescue),

We share something that I believe is very special: Popcorn Day. When I first discovered our unique bond, I resented you because I wanted your URL. It’s been two years now and not only have I forgiven you but I’ve grown to love your unchanging, brief blog, like an online Pompeii, images frozen just like they were on November 28th, 2009 and February 6th, 2010. It’s beautiful, really.
What I’d like to ask of you is that you contact me, in all your colorful, all-caps glory if you so desire. Explain to me the mystery of what Popcorn Day means to you, so I no longer have to wonder. This is all I ask, Super Queen Gum.

Best regards,

Brian Schroeder, your friend from Popcorn Day

And so, I reluctantly settled with Someday I’ll write to the douchemeister who owns and uses it only as a referral to his other site. SOME PEOPLE WANT THAT URL, MAN.

Anyway, happy blogiversary, everyone! Cheers!

Goals for this year:
1. Don’t you DARE miss National Popcorn Day, January 19th again.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Have you ever wanted to make someone happy by surprising them with a sugary treat, and reply affirmatively to their question at the same time? THEN LOOK NO FURTHER.

As the inventor of SongBomb©™, PoemBomb©™, and RapAttack©™, I am proud to introduce new phenomenon which will be sweeping the nation in no time:


OKakes! are the perfect treat for answering questions in a fun and meaningful way! This is how they work:

1.) Someone asks you a question, for which your answer will ultimately be “Okay.”

2.) Instead of answering, drop whatever you’re doing and run away.

3.) Go and make a cake. It could be any kind of cake, really; a big cake, a little cake, cupcakes, petit fours…really, whatever you want.

4.) Decorate your cake with frosting, and squeeze “OK” onto it.

5.) Bring your newly made OKake to your friend who asked you the question.

6.) They will then reply to your tasty treat/answer with a smile, laughter, a hug, or tears of joy. They’ll LOVE it.

OKakes! are a most versatile concoction! Check out what these fine customers have used them for! 

. . .

. . .

See? They’re a perfect idea! Call now for an OKakes! Starters Pack, complete with OKakes! Guide to the Perfect Positive Response, including tips for making OKakes! in advance!*

*It is recommended, especially for the smaller OKakes!, that you keep the letter O and K on the same cake. If not, your friends may wonder why you have KKKakes! sitting around your house.

Submit your own stories and videos of your OKakes! experiences for a chance to win an individualized PoemBomb©™!